Published: September 15, 2012
Pilrow wind farm group hits back at comments from developer

A group of campaigners who are fighting controversial plans for a new wind farm on the outskirts of Burnham-On-Sea have this week hit out at comments made by the developer behind the scheme.

Energy firm Broadview wants to build four 130-metre tall wind turbines - each as tall as Brent Knoll - on land at Pilrow Farm, south of Rooksbridge.

As we recently reported here, more than 300 letters, of which over 95% are opposed to the scheme, have been lodged with Sedgemoor District Council's planning department.

However, the NoPilrow group has hit back at comments made by Tom Cosgrove, Broadview's Project Manager, pictured above, earlier this month.

He defended his scheme, telling "Our recent experience on the streets of Burnham has been that the majority of people asked, both residents and tourists, were in favour of the proposals. If you take away all the scaremongering and hype being pedalled by a minority of vocal campaigners, this is a proposal to generate green electricity from a sustainable, domestic resource, a principle which the majority of the British public are in favour of. Broadview’s proposal has been designed in accordance with the relevant planning policy and guidance, and through decreasing carbon emissions and securing a domestic, renewable source of electricity, will help to create an important legacy for future generations."

However, NoPilrow's David James said: "We question the reason for canvassing in Burnham, five miles from the proposal, when a truly representative group would be East Brent and Rooksbridge residents, who will be directly affected by the wind farm?"

"The likely explanation is that a survey showed nearly 90% (561) of residents opposed the wind farm. Canvassing in these villages, lying in the shadows of the wind turbines, would not give Broadview the desired results."

"Mr Cosgrove further claims that the 'majority of people asked, both residents
and tourists, were in favour', however NoPilrow contends that tourists are most unlikely to have knowledge of the site and will not have to live with the wind farm; they are not best qualified to voice an informed opinion. If, as Broadview claimed, the majority support the proposal, why, to date, are the majority of comments on Sedgemoor’s planning website, opposed to the wind farm?"

David added: "Broadview also mentioned 'scaremongering and hype being pedalled by a minority of vocal campaigners...' and NoPilrow questions the use of emotive, disparaging language like this, it being a tactic when one’s argument is weak or devoid of fact. Mr Cosgrove’s use of the word minority is a gross misrepresentation since NoPilrow is supported by the vast majority of East Brent and Rooksbridge residents, six Parish Councils, John Denbee, County Councillor, Wells Conservatives and Tessa Munt MP."

"It was further stated by Mr Cosgrove that 'Broadview’s proposal has been designed in accordance with the relevant planning policy and guidelines' but this does not appear to be the opinion of English Heritage. They commented to Sedgemoor planners that 'We had not seen this division applied to an EIA before and we believe in this case that it has resulted in a flawed assessment.” NoPilrow thinks that Broadview, by asserting a minority are pedalling hype and scaremongering, when parts of its planning documents have been judged by such an august organisation as English Heritage, to be flawed, seems to border on double standards."

David added: "NoPilrow wishes to ask the reader this question. Who do you trust - local residents determined to protect the unique landscape of the Somerset Levels and Brent Knoll for future generations or a company, based in London, which stands to profit from a potential £24million in subsidies over the lifetime of the project, paid through consumers' bills?"


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